George’s Journal

Happy Thanksgiving! On April 20th, the week before going into the City of Hope for my bone marrow transplant, I went to the dentist to have my teeth cleaned.  Dr. Chen advised me to do so, because the BMT would leave me extremely vulnerable to severe mouth infections.  Good thing, because I developed a very bad case of oral mucositis, i.e., mouth sores.  It probably could have been much worse.  As you know, there was a 25%-30% chance I would not make it out of the unrelated donor BMT.  That April morning in the dentist chair, I vividly recall thinking “I really hope to return” before the end of the year to have some necessary dental work.  Yesterday, Dr. Eric Sauk gave me a temporary crown. Going to the dentist never felt so good!

MY THANKSGIVING BLESSINGS

Since it is the time of year to celebrate what we are thankful for, here is a list – albeit an incomplete record – of some of the things I especially appreciate:

  • Being alive!
  • Our almighty and benevolent God
  • My girls, Cheryl, Jacquelyne & Eva, who give me the greatest motivation to beat this thing
  • YOU – ALL of my family and friends
  • Gradually re-gaining my immune system, stamina and strength
  • Thanksgiving with family & friends at our home (20 for dinner), rather than the hospital.
  • My world-class medical team, including Drs. Chen, Nelson, Cecena & Keri Halsema
  • Nurses & staff at City of Hope, UC-Irvine Medical Center, Oasis of Hope & Stanford Medical Center
  • My anonymous stem cell donor residing in Europe, you gave me the gift of life
  • Waking up in my own bed
  • Watching Jacquelyne play volleyball and Eva swim
  • Helping Eva with her homework
  • Cheryl’s partnership during my health crisis, being a top notch caregiver – I love you
  • “Front row” seat in our family room to enjoy Eva’s impromptu dance & cheerleading performances
  • Jacquelyne, very eagerly modeling any new shirt, pants, sweater and/or dress for me
  • Experiencing the warm California summer days and cool autumn/winter mornings
  • Cheryl’s home cooking
  • Having the strength & flexibility to reach down and put on my right sock & shoe!
  • The blessing & luck of having the greatest parents in the world, John & Sue Ghindia
  • My siblings (Mary Beth, Suzy, Janet, John), brother-in-laws Mark & Terry, nieces & nephews for  visiting me often, and checking on me ALL the time, you’re the BEST
  • My brother John for his unwavering optimism & encouragement, and for putting together this website….you all know he is the best brother in the world
  • Eileen Markowitz, Carmilla Lau, Donna Ganshirt, Scott & Michele Rachel, David Gural, Michelle Mischler, Shirley Leader & friends at ThomasNet
  • Mike Stover, www.propelpages.com, for his clutch contribution in developing & maintaining this site
  • Cindy Forsythe, my excellent assistant
  • Cousins Wayne & Joan Tallman for their love/support, orchestrating the Tallman Family Reunion
  • Tim & Kelly Blett and Chris & Saxon Copps for their love/support;  including starting & seeding the GWG fund, enabling my treated at Oasis of Hope; Kelly also escorted me to radiation sessions
  • All of YOU who generously contributed to my fund, helping Cheryl &  I weather the financial storm
  • College football – particularly the Michigan Wolverines
  • Detroit Red Wings
  • Flying the flag of the United States of America
  • Our peerless military service men and women
  • My church St. Thomas More Catholic Church & Rick Warren pastor of Saddleback Church
  • Pastor Bob Mooney, Messiah Lutheran Church, and more importantly a great friend
  • Charlie Brande, the Director of Orange County Volleyball Club
  • Mother-in-Law, Madeleine Walsh (Florida) & Tom Perry for their cards, calls & visit
  • Close friends, aka, “The Machinery” (Reed Perry, Steve Fuller, Bob Sauer, Ron Buermann, Boris Del Cid, Mike Popovich, Jeff Hasse, Chris Copps, Tim Blett, Tom Mannausa, Dan Cannon), for numerous emails, texts & phone calls and traveling near & far (Europe) to visit; your camaraderie has greatly steeled my strength & resolve
  • The pleasure of a good cup of coffee
  • Mike McNally, high school tennis doubles partner/great friend, who emailed & called me religiously throughout my ordeal & ALWAYS emphatically said I would beat this thing
  • The lyrics and music of Tommy James M., and philosophical musings of Fuller
  • Feeling and smelling the Pacific Ocean
  • Harriett & Tom Cole, my parent’s dear life-long friends, who have been unbelievably supportive; Harriett introduced me to Matthew 19:26.
  • Reagan Dean http://reagandean.wordpress.com/join-our-team/reagan-dean – who called me “out of the blue” in March telling me about Mexico alternative medical options.
  • Uncle Jack & Aunt Trisha Tallman, for their steady, insightful, loving support
  • Christmas, Memorial Day weekend, and Fourth of July with great friends at the beach
  • Good friend and benefits consultant, Mike Lugo
  • Working out….the opportunity to exert myself physically and condition my body
  • Guitar-driven classic rock
  • Knowledge & insights I’ve gained from my experiences, including how our Lord IS listening and has answered OUR prayers and rewarded OUR faith
  • Kissing my girls “good night” and “good morning”
  • My brother John’s Michigan football buddies, i.e., Mike Leoni, Bill Dufek, John Arbreznik, Yale Van Dyne, Tim Wadhams, Dave Diebolt, Scott Smykowski, the Balourdos brothers, Jim & Jack Harbaugh & many others, some I’ve never met; their camaraderie & support is iron clad. Go Blue!
  • Cousin Mark Sutherland who visited from Chicago & bolstered my spirits
  • Angie Merkel, her husband Bobby Egan, and her Mom, Anne Merkel; for always being “with me” at the right time
  • Cousin Kathy Tallman (Boston), who in February kept me company during transfusions, then connected me to experts at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Yes Kathy, “Miracles Do Happen!”
  • Don & Claire Eaton, owners of Wolverine Sports  – www.wolverinesports.com – who had a volleyball net and stanchions custom made for our backyard, so Jacquelyne and Eva’s could enjoy
  • The legacy, calming influence & teachings of the Venerable Father Solanus Casey
  • Ice skating with my girls
  • Linda Fabucci, aka, The Persian Princess,” our dear friend in the Bay Area who chauffeured me around when I traveled to Stanford for second opinions
  • ALL of YOU who left a message in the Guestbook
  • Kevin & Darren Donathan of Riverview’s Donathan Family Chiropractic – www.donathanfamilychiropractic.com – they’ve left the most messages in my Guestbook
  • Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), providing me with info, insights & support
  • Friends from childhood and high school who emerged to bolster my spirits, i.e., Lorrie Koson Hambling, Bill Alm, Bill Buchner, Joe & Beth Dixon, & many others
  • “The Trenton Girls,” i.e., Kim Ganos, Christine Buchner, Carol Lipinski, Martha Burkhardt, Kim Palmer & Marina Terneus for visiting me in April prior to my BMT
  • Aunt Mary & Uncle Jerry Bauer, Uncle Bruno & Aunt Sylvia Caruso, Hunkle Tom Tallman
  • THS teammates & coaches from Michigan state championship football & hockey teams
  • Susan & Jeff Doden for the of PJs and The China Study, the insightful book on nutrition
  • My brethren from Potawatomi & Shawnee Indian Princess tribes, particularly Dave Rosenberg, Dave Rolfe, Robert Palmer, Greg Beauregard, Bentley Kerr & John Fabris
  • Cousin Janet Martinca’s banana nut bread
  • ALL of YOU who sent prayer cards, including Rose Merton, Helen Lipinski and my brother & sister-in-law, Ed and Debbie Teed
  • Cheryl’s wonderful family: The LaVezzi’s, The Spehs, The Malingers & The Giantasio’s
  • Friends from previous employers, such as Victoria Sharrar & Kathy Keil-Rogers from R. H. Donnelley, who have surfaced after 15+ years to provide uplifting support
  • The inspiring example of Todd Larsen, rest in peace my friend
  • ALL of YOU who remember me in your prayers, I cannot ever thank you enough
  • If I missed acknowledging you here, please know how grateful I am for YOU; no doubt there will be a continuation of this list….

KEEPING THE FAITH…..WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES

Last year, I ate Thanksgiving dinner in my hospital bed with Cheryl, Jacquelyne and Eva.  I was thankful to have them there, and to have an appetite; though chemo does a number on the taste buds.  I was determined to continue our Thanksgiving tradition of having our OC family and some friends over for dinner. Cheryl will again be a terrific host. I praise God for His blessings of much better health, and the opportunity to hope, dream, give and take action toward a wonderful future with my girls and YOU. Cheryl and I cherish your friendship, love and generous spirit.  Indeed I give Thanks for you!

God bless you and yours,

George

…”With God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

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